Tandoori Cauliflower


Tandoori Cauliflower-2

Tandoori Cauliflower

There was one good thing to come from my disastrous waitressing career during my university days. Actually make that two things.

First, I gained a deep respect for anyone who provides excellent service in a restaurant.

Second, I fell in love with Indian cuisine. Especially the food from the tandoori oven.

And while the most famous tandoori dishes like tandoori chicken centre around animal protein, I recently had the most delicious tandoori carrots at a local restaurant.

Which got me thinking of the possibilities of tandoori flavours and vegetables.

Hello cauliflower!

I’ve added some chicken here to make it a more substantial meal, but the cauli really is the star of the show. Slightly charred, smoky and fragrant with spice.

I could eat this all day. Every day.

Enough for: 2
Takes: 30 minutes
Net Carbs: 19g/ serve

1/2 head cauliflower (approx 500g / 1lb)
4 chicken thigh fillets
1 tablespoon tandoori spice (or 2 teaspoons each smoked paprika + curry powder)
large handful roast cashews (50g / 2oz)
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
bunch coriander, leaves picked

1. Turn your oven to 250C (480F). Chop cauliflower into bite sized little trees and place in a large roasting tray. Slice each chicken thigh into 4 strips and add to the tray.

2. Combine spices and 4 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl with a very generous pinch of salt. Drizzle spiced oil over the cauli and chicken and toss well until the oil has coated everything. I find clean fingers the best tool for this job.

3. Pop the uncovered tray in the oven. Set your timer for 20 minutes.

4. After 20 minutes, check the cauliflower and chicken. If the cauliflower and chicken are cooked through and well browned, remove from the oven. If they’re not quite done, stir and cook for another 5 minutes or so. If in doubt give them more time.

5. When the cauliflower is well browned and the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, divide chicken + cauli between two plates. Top with coriander leaves, cashews and the yoghurt.

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pantry-friendly – skip herbs. Frozen Cauli (defrost and squeeze dry before using). Yoghurt = cashew sauce or hummus.

different spice – you could just use 2-3 teaspoons curry powder (without the smoked paprika) OR make your own tandoori spice blend with equal parts smoked paprika, coriander and cumin. Spice pastes can also be used, depending on the strength you will need 2-3 tablespoons tandoori paste.

Keto / ultra low carb – use macadamias instead of cashews. Halve the cauli and serve with baby spinach leaves instead.

vegetarian – replace chicken with cooked chickpeas. Or serve with poached or fried eggs, tofu, feta, diced paneer (Indian cheese), pan fried halloumi or a big bowl of dahl or lentils. Or just serve with extra cashews.

dairy-free – coconut yoghurt or cashew yoghurt or cashew sauce, or this lemon tahini sauce, mayonnaise.

more substantial (carb lovers) – steamed rice or naan bread.

more substantial (low carb) – extra nuts like cashews or macadamias, extra chicken or chunks of avocado. Use mayonnaise instead of yoghurt (or both!), cauliflower ‘rice’.

Low FODMAP – use low FODMAP veg instead of the cauli. Such as carrots, kohlrabi or celeriac.

family-friendly – use 2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 2 teaspoon cumin.

different vegetables – carrots, kohlrabi or celeriac, eggplant, mushrooms (yum tandoori mushrooms!), zucchini (courgettes), capsicum (bell peppers) sweet potato, pumpkin, thinly sliced onion, parsnips.

different herbs – use flat leaf parsley, mint, basil or baby spinach leaves instead of the coriander.

different protein – chicken breast fillets, diced lamb, white fish, salmon, sausages, chickpeas, poached or fried eggs (added when serving), dahl or cooked lentils (to serve).

more fancy / for entertaining – slice an onion in half lengthwise and then into thin 1/2 moons. Toss them with the cauliflower and spiced oil for extra depth of flavour. Serve with chilli oil or chilli salt for everyone to add spice to taste. Serve with another curry like Lesh’s Dahl, Butter Chickpeas, Lamb Saag or Yoghurt & Kofta Curry or Easy Fish Curry.

Waste Avoidance Strategy

cauliflower – will keep for weeks in a plastic bag in the fridge. Can be frozen but the texture isn’t as good when defrosted.

chicken thigh fillets – freeze them.

roast cashews / tandoori spice (or smoked paprika + curry powder) – keep them in the pantry.

yoghurt – usually has a shelf life of a month or so. Otherwise, have it for another meal like breakfast! Don’t freeze.

coriander – best to use for another meal. Can be frozen but will wilt when defrosted.

Problem Solving Guide

bland – more salt, a squeeze or lemon or lime or a splash of hot sauce or chilli oil. Next time use more spice or a different brand of tandoori spice.

too dry – usually from overcooking. Next time check earlier – for now a little more yoghurt will help hide dryness.

burning – when cooking at very high temperatures like this you need to be careful. Next time use a lower temperature, or check earlier. Or use a smaller pan – if the food is more crowded it will take longer to cook.

no oven – pan fry the spiced chicken and cauliflower on the stove top. Cook cauliflower first as it will take the longest – covering the pan will help keep the heat in an the cauliflower to cook more evenly. Will take 10-15 minutes on a medium high heat. Remove cauli to a clean bowl then pan fry the chicken, stirring until it is no longer pink about 5 minutes.

Prepare Ahead

Yes! Just cook as per the recipe but keep the, yoghurt, coriander + cashews separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week or can be frozen. To serve, warm spiced chicken and cauli in a pan with a little oil then serve with remaining ingredients. If the weather is warm it’s also excellent chilled.

Tandoori Cauliflower

Tandoori Cauliflower-3

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Parker May 9, 2020

I’ve just made this tonight with baby spinach instead of coriander and your home made cheat tandoori powder. It needed a bit of extra salt – as my cashews were also bought natural. Really delicious thanks Jules and a new regular for my dinner list.

Mine wasn’t quite as golden so next time I’ll use a bigger tray. I also your cauliflower roasted with onions and tikka marsala and haven’t had this issue – the chicken must put out moisture when it cooks.


jules May 10, 2020

So glad you enjoyed Kate!

And yes, the chicken add extra moisture which is why it takes longer to brown. A larger tray will help speed up the evaporation and browning – just watch that the chicken doesn’t get overcooked – it’s a bit of a juggle 🙂


Rachel Rothenberg May 6, 2020

I’m going to make this tonight. I’m confused what makes the tandoori paste. Is it smoked paprika and cumin or smoked p and curry. What’s your favorite way to roast cashews? Thank you! I might not hear from you before I make it so I’ll have to use my best judgment.. 😀


jules May 6, 2020


Hope I’m not too late.

You can buy tandoori spice blends – which is what I mostly use.

But if you don’t have that a mix of curry powder and smoked paprika is an excellent substitute. Sorry it wasn’t clearer.

YOu’ll need 2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 2 teaspoons curry powder

I actually buy my cashews already roasted and salted.

To roast your own the easiest way it to pop them on a tray then roast in the oven (180C / 350F) for 8-10 minutes or longer if you like a darker roast.

But if you want them quicker, fry them in a pan on a medium high heat in a tiny bit of oil until they’re becutifully golden.

Let me know how you got on!


anthea forsyth March 26, 2020

Dear Jules
Been a member forever. Just a note to say that I absolutely love yr cauliflower tandoori recipe. So easy. I didnt add chicken. Yummy beyond words. Thanks


jules March 27, 2020

I’m so glad you liked it Anthea!

I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know 🙂



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